Now that the shock has worn off for many Americans that Mitt Romney is indeed a competent, commanding fellow, the Czar thought he would step back and look at the reaction to the debate.
One reviewer felt that Mitt Romney delivered a better performance than John F. Kennedy against Nixon. There is so much wrong with that premise it is difficult to know how to take that apart, except to be charitable and call that a massive stretch.
Frankly, Mitt Romney looked awkward and uncomfortable at first, and could have been sharper against some of the President’s criticisms. And he certainly let a few of the President’s barbs go by unchallenged, which might conceivably let a few folks think there could be merit there. Romney was also very unfunny—no doubt a good thing given how serious the election is, but he could have been warmer. Just by a bit.
So why is everyone so excited? Even the MSM is acknowledging the election is a real choice, with the exception of MSNBC who believes (somewhat correctly) that Obama did not take this debate seriously.
More importantly, why are undecideds announcing by a 2:1 split that they think Mitt Romney is probably their guy? A few guesses:
As Volgi says, many undecideds now have a good reason to vote against Obama. They saw what they liked and liked what they saw; they have been itching to dump the rock star and hire this guy who seems to get it. Did Romney make his argument compelling? Not hardly; but he made his argument coherent, whereas the President only promised four more years—a point Romney hit him on very well.
Folks are tired of divisive politics. Romney provided crystal clear examples of bipartisan support, including specific roll calls by party, of his policies; the President claimed he welcomes advice from everywhere, but by now double-digit percentages of Americans earnestly believe he is anything but open-minded and bipartisan. Romney will corner a point or two of the centrists with his comparison.
Republicans were energized. Romney spoke up on numerous third-rails: defunding PBS, entitlement reform, crony capitalism, calling out hypocrisy, and more; these are all things that a veteran GOP consultant would scream out as insane or suicide or worse! But Romney went there, and the more he did, the more it became obvious the President was brittle. This is not the Romney people expected, but the Romney Republicans keep trying to convince each other really exists, somewhere. While this won’t change the polls alone, expect the GOP to get more open about their candidate.
Many Democrats were stunned to see a bone-weary, under-prepared President offer up arguments Romney took apart in his opening statement because the President had nothing else to offer. Obama revealed that he is weak and defensive when not protected by the main stream media, and when forced to think on his feet. He looked quite un-presidential, and more like a first-time candidate taking on the old war horse in a local primary. Obama scored some points, but convinced American that he would rather be anywhere else than talking about his plans for the country. This might change the polls by a point or two—nothing becomes permanently flipped until closer to the election, but will hurt the morale of Democrats. Whatever golden euphoria they felt after their convention is just smoke, now.
Finally, the Obama campaign is in a bad spot. No, the debate doesn’t mean the election is out of reach for the President—but the debate pushed the national attention to the one place the campaign dreaded it might go: the President’s record.
As we know, David Axelrod and friends were pretty much rooting around in the rapidly empty bag of tricks. Usâma bin-Lâdin didn’t sell. The Arab Spring turned out to be a Fall Nightmare. The promise of work permits for children of illegals is not helping. The convention bump smoothed out too fast. People think the stimulus was a bust.
Try demonizing Romney: okay, so he didn’t kill a woman. Nor did he try to kill his own dog. His offshore accounts? Right in line with prominent Democrats. His evil years at Bain Capital? Turns out those events happened when Romney was gone and a major Obama supporter was in charge. He didn’t pay his taxes? Oh, he did—and they showed Romney donates more each month than Joe Biden donated in ten years.
Try to bias the polls! Obama is up nine points in a state he narrowly won in 2008! Except that two polls, conducted by the highly partisan SEIU and equally partisan Daily Kos, each showed that 42% of Americans think the polls are rigged to inflate Obama’s numbers, and another 18% think they could be. The hope was to dry up Mitt Romney’s commanding money supply (why dump money into a loser?), but donations to the Romney/Ryan campaign are soaring in September and will be higher in October.
Whatever you do, though, you don’t talk about the President’s job. And when Romney pointed out that for all Obama’s grand bipartisan ideas, he has had years to put them into play but hasn’t: because they are fiction. And for all the President’s boasts about investing in education, he put 45 times the amount of money into failed green energy scams. Unemployment is higher now than in 2008. Economic growth is actually slowing. Small business are folding at an astonishing rate. Middle class taxpayers paid an average of $2,500 more in taxes than they did the year before. The President raised taxes on the small businesses that employ 50% of SOHO employees nationwide.
This is precisely where the Obama campaign dare not tread, because the conclusions are inescapable. And while the first debate usually means little in the long run, Romney ripped apart the Axelrod strategy in only 90 minutes, causing a momentary media blackout from Axelrod following the debate, and an admission from David Axelrod himself that Romney will get at least three points from his performance last night, putting him ahead of the tie.
90 minutes. And most of that time was the President talking. The President is paper-thin, and Romney jabbed a big hole right through it.